SEATTLE — Pinch-hitter Justin Upton homered to tie it in the eighth inning and Abraham Toro singled home the winning run in the ninth to lift the Seattle Mariners over the Oakland Athletics 2-1 Saturday.
The Mariners loaded the bases with no outs in the ninth when Lou Trivino (1-6) walked Eugenio Suarez, Carlos Santana singled and Cal Raleigh reached on shortstop Nick Allen’s error.
Toro then singled home pinch-runner Marcus Wilson for the victory.
“It’s been a lot of talk lately how we leave guys on base, but I mean, I think we are going to turn it around,” Toro said. “We have a really good lineup. It’s all about, the pressure is on the pitcher, not on us in those kinds of situations, and we had to capitalize on that.”
Diego Castillo (6-1) got the win.
Upton sent the first pitch he saw from A’s reliever A.J. Puk into Edgar’s Cantina in left field to tie the game. It was his first homer of the season, the 325th homer of his career, and his first ever as a pinch-hitter.
“I’m definitely not used to it,” Upton said. “But I did get a pinch-hit at-bat the other night, and you just start trying to find ways to figure it out. You’ve just got to change your mindset a little bit going into the box and I was able to execute today.”
The A’s scored in the first off George Kirby when Tony Kemp led off with a walk, Ramon Laureano singled and Sean Murphy had a sacrifice fly.
Kirby, coming off a tough start on Monday where he allowed four homers against the Baltimore Orioles, retired 16 of his final 17 hitters faced.
The Mariners rookie gave up three hits in seven innings, fanning nine.
“He was in total control, all day long,” Seattle manager Scott Servais said. “After they put the run up in the first, he just got in a great rhythm landing the curveball, and the fastball had a ton of life.”
Blackburn was dominant as well, retiring 14 straight hitters at one point in the game. He blanked the Mariners on four hits in 6 1/3 innings, striking out five.
“(Kirby) threw the ball well, but (Blackburn) was pitch for pitch with him today. ” Oakland manager Mark Kotsay said. “I thought, overall, those two starters really performed well.”
Seattle OF Julio Rodriguez earned his second consecutive American League Rookie of the Month award on Saturday. Rodriguez led AL rookies with 30 hits, 22 runs, seven home runs, 16 RBIs and 58 total bases in June. Rodriguez is the first Mariners player to win multiple Rookie of the Month awards since Ichiro Suzuki won four in 2001.
Kotsay was ejected in the bottom of the sixth inning by home plate umpire Chris Segal after complaining about a call on Seattle’s Julio Rodriguez.
Athletics: INF Jed Lowrie (shoulder) had an MRI earlier this week that showed some fluid buildup, according to Kotsay. Lowrie had a cortisone injection, but still has no timeline for a return.
Mariners: Seattle will start LHP Robbie Ray (6-6, 3.78) on Sunday in the series finale against Oakland. Ray has been dominant of late, with two earned runs allowed over his last four starts with 11 hits, seven walks, and 28 strikeouts.
Athletics: Frankie Montas (3-8, 3.20) is the Sunday starter for the A’s. He has allowed just six hits and two earned runs over his past two starts, which came on June 23 against the Mariners and June 28 against the Yankees.
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